First of all, when I mean 'performance', I do not mean it in the performance = choreography way. I mean it in the manner in which or the efficiency with which something reacts or fulfills its intended purpose – in this case dance ability. Now, I might not be an expert at managing a dance team, however, I have a good background in business. There is no reason you should not take concepts from other fields and apply them to your own (yes, double negative).
So, I was dancing with a wonderful dancer named Maribel (shout out to her if she reads the site). Now, I give her credit because what she said after I danced with her was what caused me to have this train of thought. Now, if you don't know how I think – this will sound very weird, but for those of you know, then you'll understand.
After I danced with her, she said "You did a very good job" – or something like that (actually it was a little longer, but same effect). What she said was very encouraging and supportive – compared to the usual 'thank you' and moving on to the next person like a person at a fast food line. Anyway, I consider that positive reinforcement. You do something right, you get rewarded. Which then reminded me of how we teach dogs new tricks. When we show a dog how to sit, and it sits, you give him a treat or you pet him/her. That teaches the dog the trick and most likely open him up to learn new tricks because he knows he will get rewarded. There is no reason to go to work, unless you are getting some type of satisfaction (monitary or personal). So, those encouraging words reminded me of petting my late dog when he used to do something good. (he was an Akita if you were wondering.).
Anyway, the problem with that is that a treat is only temporary reward or satisfaction. It does not actually build upon anything. So taking my investment skillset, I decided to think of a way to make the reward something that would have a type of return on investment (ROI for those finance folks)….
Dancers are not your most important asset on a team. The right dancers are. Giving your best dancers more room to grow, will help grow your dance team in return. So, what can we do. We understand that everyone joins a dance team to get better at dance, perform and meet
hot girls interesting new people. Well, lets say you have a 'dancer of the month' – similar to an employee of the month. What should be the reward? Well, lets start simple – how about a free private lesson from an instructor of their choosing thats belongs in the dance company. Thats not hard.. but some of you might say – well, I'm loosing $75 and 1 hour if I give it for free… – you might think of it that way, but you are not being a director/manager.. and here is my reasoning.. sacrificing 1 hour and $75 a month gives you this:
If you tell people that if they win "Dance of the Month" award – they get a free private lesson with the instructor of their choosing (so they can build on the style they like with their favorite instructor). This alone will boost the morale of the team, and make them want to work harder to become better dancers so that they can win the award. This is perfect because you will be increasing the practice time of most team members striving for that goal. Second, you will also see a better segregation of the students in your dance team – of the ones who are really trying to become better dancers, from those who are just in the team – possibly languishing in mediocrity (sorry to put it so sadly). Third, most likely the entire team will start practicing the routine that you have given them so that they can show YOU that they are improving – which makes the routine much more cleaner and presentable when you actually have to perform it. Last, but not least – the big ROI is in the reward. Because you are rewarding a dancer every month with a private lesson, you are giving them something that is not perishable. Its an investment into themselves. Taking that free private lesson will make them better dancers – and by helping them become better dancers – your dance team becomes a better dance team – which in turn makes your dance company have a better 'quality' appeal to it when they perform their choreography. This brings out what is called a flywheel effect – a synergetic effect which causes things to build off of one another. By improving your dancers, you improve the performance, which in turn improves the 'brand appeal' of the dance company, which in turn attracts more quality dancers to your company, which then helps all those quality dancers become even better and so on and so forth… like a flywheel building momentum upon itself.
Now, this is not THE solution – but a simple solution nevertheless. This solution is mainly for large teams – however you can find your fit for smaller teams in order for the overall team to grow. It provides you with an idea on how you can improve the performance (ability) of a dance team in order to improve people's dance ability. You might have a different reward system – or rewards for that matter. However, always remember that the best rewards are investments into one own self. Those are the types that last the longest.